The holidays are a time for family, fun, and of course, travel. But let’s not kid ourselves; holiday travel can be stressful. From packed airports to canceled flights, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top tips for navigating holiday travel this holiday season.
Plan ahead: This may seem obvious, but it’s really important to plan your trip well in advance, especially if you’re traveling during peak times like Christmas or Thanksgiving. Book your flights and hotels as early as possible to get the best rates and availability. The more you plan ahead, the less stressed you’ll be when it’s time to travel.
Get to the airport early: If you’re flying during the busy holiday travel season, you’ll want to get there early. You’ll need time to find parking, check-in, drop off bags, and go through security. The earlier you arrive, the less chance you’ll have of stressing yourself out over the thought of missing your flight. I use 2 hours minimum for domestic flights and 3 hours minimum for international flights.
Pack light and keep it organized. Packing light is always a good idea when traveling, but it’s crucial during the holidays. Pack only the essentials and leave anything that can be replaced at home to make things easier on yourself. And if you can manage with just a carry-on bag, you should do that. You’ll lighten your load and never have to worry about lost luggage.
Be prepared for delays: Delays are always possible when traveling, especially during the holidays. If you have connecting flights, avoid short layovers, there’s a huge risk of missing your connecting flight if you have any delays. And if you experience a missed flight or cancelation, keep calm and head to your airline’s customer service desk.
Check your flight status before heading out. Check your flight status before heading out. If your destination is far away or your area has poor weather conditions, don’t leave home until you know your flight is on schedule. If the airline has canceled or delayed your flight, contact them immediately to determine the next steps. Make sure you sign up for text updates and notifications with your airline.
Take the first flight of the day: Statistically, the first flight of the day is the least likely to be delayed or canceled. Taking the first flight of the day dramatically increases your chance of a smooth start to your travels.
Use TSA Precheck or Global Entry benefits if available!
You can cut down your time with security by enrolling in TSA Precheck or Global Entry. These programs allow members who clear security to use a special security lane at the airport and don’t have to remove shoes or jackets during screening. If you’re eligible for one of these programs, get them! They make air travel much easier by reducing the amount of time spent in line at security checkpoints. If you have a travel credit card, check your benefits. Many card issuers reimburse you for the cost of these programs.
Download a podcast, movie, or favorite playlist: One of the best ways to pass the time during a long flight or layover is to have something entertaining to watch or listen to. Be sure to download your favorite shows or songs before you take off, so you’re not stuck with whatever is playing on the in-flight entertainment system.
Bring snacks and stay hydrated: Airports and airplanes are notorious for being overpriced and having unhealthy food options. Save yourself money and stress by packing your snacks for the airport and plane. And make sure to stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water will help you feel better during your long holiday journey and may even help prevent jet lag.
Relax and enjoy yourself: This may be easier said than done, but remember, it’s the holiday season. Yes, traveling can be stressful, but it’s also an opportunity to spend time with loved ones and create new memories. So take a deep breath, enjoy the journey, and happy holidays!
We hope these tips help you navigate holiday travel this season! With a little bit of planning (and a lot of patience), you can make it through even the most hectic of holiday travels unscathed!
And if you need assistance along the way, we’re always available to help you plan your holiday getaway.